Editing memoQ’s light resources can be a painful experience, with somewhat clunky interfaces, intimidating lists, small default window sizes, and the inability to add comments to rules written with regular expressions. Anyone who’s tried to pin down an error in a list of dozens of autotranslatable rules will know the maddening experience of trying to wade through to reams of similar-looking rules to find the culprit, especially as any edited rules are automatically re-added to the bottom of the list, so any initial effort at structuring rules according to their purpose gradually falls apart over time.

As Kevin Lossner recently pointed out, one clever strategy is to export copies of the rulesets and, adding comments to these XML files, essentially manage these rules outside of memoQ. This makes the rules themselves easier to navigate, and indeed edit, with changes being implemented with a simple reimport of the file.

However, there can be a couple of disadvantages to this solution, depending your workflow. Firstly, the comments only work in one direction, as they’re lost on import. If you make any alterations to resources from within memoQ, exporting the updated ruleset would mean having to combine the files or otherwise restore all the comments. Secondly, memoQ prevents you from overwriting resources on import, so while you can always add a new version and delete the previous one, it can prove to be a royal pain if you also need to update a large number of templates and/or ongoing projects which are using the resource.

Fortunately there is one more cheeky option available to us to make our rules easier to read, however, and that is to abuse named capturing groups and use them as comments. For example, take a rule from a cascading filter for tagging the asterisks in a Markdown list:

^\s*\*\s+

We can simply give this group a name and make it easy to identify:

(?<unordered_list>^\s*\*\s+)

Once all rules have been commented, we immediately have a much cleaner overview of the ruleset, especially useful when you need to go back in and tweak or add something later.

Example cascading filter for Markdown

Note that one potential side-effect of this strategy is that mixing named and numbered capturing groups may upset the numbering, so particularly for autotranslatable rules it may be easiest simply to use named capturing groups consistently throughout.

[Photo by Daiga Ellaby on Unsplash]

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